Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Promise...

"Promise me that someday you will have one of your stories published."

That was one of the last conversations that I had with my father before he died. I had just finished reading him one of my latest scribblings; his wrinkled hand softly patting mine, staring at me with eyes that glistened with pride. I laughed at his request and asked the question "Who would want to read my stories, Dad?" His simple reply back was "People."

Two years after he passed away, I heard the whisper of this conversation tiptoe back into my mind. I was still grieving, lost in a sea of despair over his death, but those quiet words "Promise me...promise me..." slowly broke through the darkness. I needed to fulfill this last request, so I began to pursue publication.

Writing a story is easy, getting published is a whole other can of frustrated worms. First, unless you have a treasure trove of money to just throw around you will be hearing a lot of slamming doors. It is amazing to me how many good stories there are out there, but you and I will never read them because the author didn't have the cash to back it. The reality is authors pay for their book to be published. Second, most huge publishing houses require that authors have a publishing agent before they even open the pages of the writers' manuscript. Most agents go for 20 grand or more. Third, I am not famous, nor do I have a famous family. The truth is that fame and who you know is everything; little minnows like me rarely get noticed in the sea of literature.
I had NONE of these things. All I had was a story, a promise unfulfilled, and the Internet. I searched until I found a few publishing houses that considered "new" authors who had little money and no agent. I picked one, took a deep breath, submitted my story, and mumbled under my breath "well Dad I tried".
"We like your story and want to publish."
I read those words in disbelief, and even now, holding the book in my hand, I still wonder at it all. I am a published author...a promise fulfilled.
My book has not made me famous, nor has it brought me untold wealth, but it has served as a connection to my past, present, and future. I find that my book allows me to see a bigger picture, I see the "people" that my Dad spoke of that day. People need stories that remind them of gentle conversations, loving memories, and home. I need to I write another story which may never be read by others, but I write it because someday I know that my son will need to remember. Writing is just inked memories for the library of the heart.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Project Holiday...Cereal box books

After several failed attempts at making these cereal box books for my harry potter theme, I finally found a working is what you will need.

  • cereal boxes or cake mix boxes ( anything will do)
  • scissors
  • tape
  • hot glue or Elmer's glue
  • tissue paper or construction
  • white paper towels
  • sharpie
  • toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls

  1. Cut your cereal boxes along one side. You should then be able to open up the box and lay it flat.
    Make sure you just cut along the want all the edges!
  2. Now reassemble the box with the plan cardboard facing out. Tape the edges back together.
    Tape tape!
  3. Cut the toilet paper roll or paper towel roll in half lengthwise. Attach( with hot glue or Elmer's ) this to one side of your box - this is the spine of the book.
    Tape the cut roll on one side.
  4. Tape (or glue) white paper towels on the other 3 sides of the box- these are the pages.
  5. Take the tissue paper and wrap around the book leaving a small edge. Glue these down. You can also tear up bits of paper and glue down to create a mosaic look.
  6. Draw lines on the paper towels - the pages
  7. Title your book - on the spine
  8. Viola cheap decorations!
You can use these books for book report projects or as decoration for you classroom or library. Cheap and easy.
I also decided that I would add some whimsy to my bookcases this fall. I wanted the shelves to look like the bookstore in Harry Potter, so here is the result. Artful mess!

 Happy Decorating!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Project Holiday Continued...creating hedwig

I decided a few weeks ago that this Halloween I would have a Harry Potter theme or a Hogwarts Halloween. I am still constructing a few things but here are some of my finished projects- Hedwig wreath and toilet paper roll Hedwig.
 First is my "Hedwig Wreath"

 I wish I had taken a picture of my materials before constructing it but apparently at the time I wasn't thinking ahead...

  • Foam Circle Wreath
  • Burlap Garland
  • White feathers
  • Owls
  • Purple Satin ribbon
  • Wire Star Garland
  • Off White paper

I didn't need to use any hot glue for assembly, and its an indoor wreath so I am not worried about anything flying pun intended.
Just wrap the burlap around the wreath and tie off the end with a cut piece of ribbon ( which doubles as the hanger). Loosely wrap the ribbon around the burlap..just a punch of color. Then begin inserting your feathers. Just push the feathers into the burlap and they hold beautifully. Thankfully the owls came with their own wire attachments, so that was easy. For the Hogwarts letter, just cut a small piece of off white paper into a square and copy the address from the book - you could even do your own address...I chose to stick with the book. I attached the letter with scotch tape on the back of the ribbon (that way no one will see it). Then loosely wrap the star garland on the half without the feathers. Then "Alohamora" you have your wreath. I'm sure craftier people than I could do much better, but I am pretty proud of my wreath...and since I didn't use any glue...I can take all the stuff off and use the same wreath for Christmas. Double duty decorating is the best!
Toilet Paper Roll Hedwig
My next creation is going to be used on my porch...and my porch is covered so it should survive the weather. This one could be a good craft for the kiddos. Currently I am making the cage that will go with this Hedwig, but Hedwig is done; so here is how to make her.

This time I took a picture of  "some" of my materials


Toilet paper roll
old  white sock
white felt
cotton balls
hot glue
yellow acrylic paint ( for wood crafts)
black acrylic paint ( for wood crafts)
Quaker oats box is for my cage...will show later how to make this.


  • Insert toilet roll into sock, until it hits the sock toe. Then stuff the toilet roll with cotton balls until the top forms a round shape (Hedwig's head).  Stuff the remainder of the sock into the roll and you should have a cylinder body shape.
  • Cut out a wing shape from the felt and hot glue feathers onto the felt wings. Then hot glue the wings onto the back of Hedwig's "body".
  • Then begin to hot glue ONE feather down the center of the "head" ( quill pointing down), and then begin to glue 3 to 4 feathers on the "body" of the owl.
  • Cut two small strips of felt and hot glue one near the "neck" of Hedwig and one right below the wings. These two strips should cover the quill of the feathers.
  • Cut out two small felt circles ( the eyes) and a triangle for the mouth. Glue the circles onto the sock ( not the  head feather), this allows the feathers to appear as if they are covering the eyes. Paint the eyes yellow and dot the pupil with black. Glue the triangle on top of the  head feather and then paint it black.
Not too hard and older kids could have fun constructing their own "owls" from other feather colors. The possibilities are endless..and you could make a class "owlery".
I am enjoying the process of making my Hogwarts Halloween...soon I will have the cage finished and a House elf door....stay tuned.